After quite the eventful race and finish in Martinsville this past weekend, NASCAR’s Round of 8 continues down in the Lone Star State with the AAA Texas 500 from Fort Worth.
If you missed the race, you probably caught some of the media talking about what happened after the final turn Sunday.
Logano got into the bumper of Martin Truex Jr on the final lap even pushing him nearly sideways as Martin fell to 3rd and Logano came away with the win and a spot in the final four.
In an interview right after the finish, Truex went on record saying Joey will not win the Monster Energy Cup. Payback is a, well, you know…
This is a bit of a shake-up because even with his points from the win, Logano would still be sitting outside of the top 4 in the playoff standings without his victory on Sunday.
Chase Elliott is, of course, driving hot but the only Chevy guy left in the playoffs. Kurt Busch and Martin Truex Jr are the only Toyotas remaining while Ford cars make up the rest of the field.
Things are getting very very interesting.
Kyle Busch won here back in April, and Kevin Harvick saw the checkered first a year ago.
Texas Motor Speedway is practically the antithesis of the smallest track in NASCAR, Martinsville.
This weekend, we will see speeds in excess of 200 mph which is more than twice as fast as anybody has ever driven at Martinsville.
Let’s review the playoff standings, look at the odds to win, and pick a few drivers we think might inhabit victory lane in Fort Worth this Sunday.
Monster Energy Cup Series Playoff Standings
- Joey Logano:
- Kyle Busch: +46
- Kevin Harvick: +25
- Martin Truex Jr: +25
- Kurt Busch: -25
- Chase Elliott: -31
- Clint Bowyer: -42
- Aric Almirola: -50
With 2 races remaining before the winner-take-all Round of 4 race in Homestead, Florida in a couple weeks, Kyle Busch is looking pretty good to advance as long as he stays within the top 5-10 spots in Texas this week and in Phoenix the next.
It’s pretty cool to see Harvick and Truex Jr in a dead heat. Martin has been the better driver in the past month, but Harvick is as dangerous as ever.
If any of the drivers currently in spots 5-8 can manage to get close at the end, you can bet none of them will hesitate to get as physical with their vehicles as they need to to win.
Almirola pretty much needs a victory to make the final four at this point. Veteran Clint Bowyer isn’t too far ahead of him, and will likely need the same result.
Now that the table is set, it’s time for the odds and a few picks!
Odds to Win AAA Texas 500
- Kevin Harvick: +275
- Kyle Busch: +325
- Martin Truex Jr: +400
- Brad Keselowski: +700
- Kyle Larson: +700
- Chase Elliott: +1000
- Ryan Blaney: +1200
- Joey Logano: +1200
- Clint Bowyer: +2000
- Kurt Busch: +2000
- Denny Hamlin: +2200
- Aric Almirola: +2500
Even with only one victory in his career at this track, Kevin Harvick has the best odds to win.
He also hasn’t won a race since early August up in the proud state of Michigan.
I guess the sportsbooks know he is due, but more importantly, they know he needs a win badly.
Kyle Busch leads active drivers minus Jimmie Johnson with three wins at Texas while a potential high-paying underdog has 2 victories in Fort Worth.
We know Martin Truex is hyped for this one! After getting literally bumped out of first place on the last lap a week ago by Joey Logano, Martin may even be a little emotional heading into the race.
I will give him the benefit of the doubt, though, as he has nerves of steel I could never imagine, and always seems to run well as the season nears the end.
Something tells me that Truex is going to be in the top 5 with a few laps remaining, so a few bucks on him wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Chase Elliott is actually first among active drivers with an average finishing position at this track of 7.4, albeit with only 5 starts.
He has finished inside the top ten in 4 of those starts including 2 times in the top five.
Of course, he doesn’t have the near sample size of the other drivers at Texas but the kid is NASCAR’s next superstar.
Although he isn’t in the playoffs anymore, the Virginian finished 2nd last week and won back-to-back races here in 2010.
At (+2200), it’s not likely but it’s valuable.
Expect the unexpected this weekend down in Texas. I picked a few drivers I think have a good chance to win and/or have the most valuable odds but this is the playoffs and as we saw last week in Martinsville, cars will be in contact with each other more than ever.
Yes, Texas Motor Speedway is nearly a 1.5-mile track and drivers won’t be bottled up like last week, but I still expect fireworks and more cautions are likely as the race progresses.
Kyle Busch would love to go ahead and secure his spot in the Round of 4 final race in just a couple weeks time, but he could also play it safe as he has significantly more points than anyone.
Martin Truex and Kevin Harvick will each be a bit more desperate the aforementioned member of the Big 3.
Harvick is for sure due, but Truex is still hungry for that 20 oz filet Joey Logano stole from him coming out of the final turn just several days ago.
I like Truex here, but his odds of (+400) aren’t nearly as valuable as Chase Elliott who comes in at 10 to 1!
Grab these two guys to win and let’s throw the two-time Texas Motor Speedway winner Denny Hamlin in there as well at (+2200).
It’s a huge Fall weekend in sports once again, but don’t forget about the boys that drive real fast and turn to the left sometimes!